The Huffington Post ran an article on Five Reasons Why Evolution Is Important. It’s by Steven Newton, Public Information Project Director for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), and was run on 12 February to celebrate Charles Darwin’s 201st birthday.
Newton gives five medical examples of natural selection and claims that proves “evolution” is important. This argument from natural selection has been shown to be faulty so many times that I’m sure they are aware of it. They have to be deliberately muddying the waters.
In a nutshell the confusion is because they use the word “evolution” in two different ways. It’s a trick. Newton gives examples of “natural selection”, which is one meaning of the word, and he implies that those examples explain “the diversity of life on this planet”, which is a different meaning. Yes, natural selection does produce change but this change is in the wrong direction to transform bacteria into bloggers (see The evolution train’s a-comin’).
Reason 1: H1N1 and Emerging Diseases. Newton says that the outbreak of “swine flu” in 2009 reminds us that “viruses evolve”. Viruses certainly change but such changes are not the sort of changes that molecules-to-man evolution requires (see Swine flu is not evidence for evolution).
Reason 2: HIV. Another virus that “evolves” so rapidly that no “vaccine” has been found. Once again, natural selection is not evolution in the molecules-to-man sense (see Has AIDS evolved?).
Reason 3: Vaccines. They have to change because viruses like the flue virus evolve. This is a repeat of reason 1 & 2. Newton would have to know that creationists accept natural selection because NCSE are continually fighting this issue in the courts in order to silence any discussion or criticism of evolution. He looks like he is playing politics and using political spin for a political advantage.
Reason 4. Antibiotic Resistance. He says it’s a “textbook example of natural selection”, and it is. But nothing has evolved here. No new kinds of bacteria have suddenly popped into existence. The bacteria that survived already existed when the antibiotic was applied and they already had the resistance. Natural selection has reduced the different varieties of bacteria leaving only the resistant ones. All the others are gone. (See Super bugs not super after all, and notice the date of the article. These answers have been around for more than a decade yet Newton keeps trotting out the same old argument. He must know. Makes you think there is more to this than science.)
Reason 5: Drug Development. Newton’s discussion of the Pacific Yew tree is another example of natural selection—variation among yew trees—yawn. But then he plays a little trick. Newton says “we know from evolution that we share a common ancestor with animals.” This is what you call “bait-and-switch“. He has been using “evolution” to mean natural selection, which is uncontroversial and which creationists would agree with. Now he switches the meaning to refer to animals evolving into people. He then claims that the reason we can test drugs for humans on animals is because animals and humans share a common ancestor. But there are other explanations. Animals and humans have similar cell structure and body configuration because they have the same designer—God (see Common design argument).
So, is evolution important? If by evolution you mean natural selection then yes. It’s important to understand natural selection just like it is important to understand the first law of thermodynamics, Newton’s laws of motion and the gas laws. Our understanding of these principles has transformed our world. But we don’t see the birthday of Isaac Newton, Lord Kelvin or Robert Boyle celebrated every year.
But, if by evolution you mean bacteria changing into bloggers over millions of years then NO. This idea is not supported by the scientific evidence and it has produced no scientific insights or inventions. There is only one reason why this kind of evolution is important, and Dawkins explained why. He said evolution enables him to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. So, evolution, in the molecules-to-man sense, is all about dispensing with God. And that is why we see this endless adulation of Darwin.
Don’t be fooled by articles like this one from Steven Newton and promoted by NCSE. This issue is not about science, medicine or progress, about which there is no controversy. It’s part of their ongoing war against God.